Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 43 > Page 35 - With Pianist Doug MacPhee

Page 35 - With Pianist Doug MacPhee

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1 (312 reads)

gift. But not everyone has that, (Would Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald be an example of that?) He could be. (Dougie laughs.) Well, you know, Winston will tell you that himself, Winston's a very clever man, and a very talented man--no question about it, one of our best. Winston would take a tune in a book, and you might get a note in there that you have to reach for it--a note that is really out of the way--and by doing that it could disturb, interfere with his flow. Winston had a terrific flow in his music. So, rather than have to reach over to a certain area to get a note that wasn't in line, wasn't in the run, he would alter that note to suit his style. And that's improvising. Good jazz players do that type of thing. (But) Winston's an exception. Actually, when he made a change, he improved the tune, Angus Chisholm could do the same thing, you know. Another good example. And Winston's a real leader. He didn't copy anyone. He played what Winston felt in the heart, the soul. What was in Winston came out in his music. He had a terrific, terrific swing. And he has lots of people today following him, his style. (You do choose certain tunes, and you do try to do what those fiddlers do. I don't even want to say "approximate," because I think you're really trying to just carve out again what those fiddlers have done, at the piano. How do you make that choice? How did you choose a particular presenta? tion of a tune? How do you choose one fid? dler's variation over others?) The tradi? tional tunes that I play, most of them are Mary MacDonald's arrangement. Because (as) I grew up, I had such a love for her music, and her music did so much for me. And I just zero in on her tunes, I memorized them exactly, as closely as I could to the way she played them. I tried to bring out the same expression on the piano, in feel. You see, that's coming from within, I'm thinking of Mary MacDonald when I'm leam- 1:' Blue Heron Gift Shop V'BOOKS, GLASSWARE, FIGURINES, WOOOENWARE, CRYSTAL Gifts for All Occasions ?? BADDECK, N. S. 295-3424 ing that tune. I'm thinking or Mary MacDon? ald when I'm playing that tune, I'm imagin? ing her in front of me and how she would be bowing, her timing and so forth. And that's all going through my mind as I'm playing it. In other words, I'm trying to be Mary MacDonald. You know what I'm sayings If it's a tune I learned, and Angus Allan Gillis impressed me, it's the same thing. I'm just imagining Angus Allan Gillis with that terrific bow hand of his, springing there and, you know, chopping, cutting-- the way he'd do it. And I'd try to do that on the piano. So many different ways of playing the pi? ano. Playing the melody--the same notes, but expressing them differently, just by lifting your fingers a little higher, lift? ing them a little lower. You can have sep? arate notes, or you can have the same notes flow--you can smooth them out, or you can play them choppy, depending. If the fiddler was doing a lot of cuttings-- or separate notes with the bow, not exact- Passport Photographs While You Wait !''Ahha&& Studta Ltd. ONE HOUR FILM PROCESSING ) 5" X 7" Enlargements or Reprints in Only 20 Minutes! Weddings * Commercial & Industrial * Family Groups * Graduation ABBASS STUDIO LTD. 170 Townsend St., Sydney * 564-8234 or 564-6491 OVER 40 YEARS OF SERVICE TO CAPE BRETON of cape breton A compendium of fascinating and historically invaluable impressions of the peoples and conditions of Cape Breton Island over the last three centuries . . Introduced by Dr. Brian Tennyson. Illustrations, Notes, Index and Select Bibliography. $14,50 To order send cheque or money order to: University College of Cape Breton Press P.O. Box 5300, Sydney, N.S. BIP 612 ' ??(35
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